Our first stop in Haarlem has been on my bucket list since junior high. We got to visit the home of Corrie Ten Boom, who wrote the book Hiding Place. My mom and I read this book together in junior high, because I think I needed something historical for a book report, but my mom wanted to read it too.
Corrie Ten Boom was a good, faithful, single, Christian woman who lived in this home in Haarlem during WW2. Her dad ran a clock shop downstairs (where the blue awning is). After Hitler's invasion, they hid Jews in their home. They worked with an architect to construct a special hiding place in Corrie's room. The books documents all their processes: the use of the back alley door to bring people in and out, the signs they put up in their windows to let people know when it was safe, the food rations they were able to obtain, the security alarms they had installed, and the emergency drills they would practice.
One day they were betrayed by a friend that turned them in to the Gustapo. Corrie, her father, and her sister were all taken to a concentration camp, and Corrie miraculously survived. (As did the Jews who were able to hide in the hiding place in her room when the police came.)
The book was such a great read of faith and optimism through the absolute worst of times. Her kind example of sacrifice and doing what's right, even though it may be unpopular or a tragic risk is awe-inspiring. Her home has been turned into a memorial for visitors to come see.
I took my mom's ragged copy of the book with us on our journey. This diagram at the front of the book shows the layout of the house, including the back alley door I'm standing in front of in this picture.
Here are a few pictures inside Corrie's room. This is a linen closet that was built into the room. The back panel of the shelf lifts up, revealing a small space to crawl through to get to "the hiding place."
They've cut the brick here to show people the depth of the space in the hiding place. It's a very narrow sliver between the room and the edge of the house.
This last picture is a small cutout in the stairs where they stored their extra food ration documents.